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Sedona, Arizona Travel Guide
 
Last Updated: Nov-08-2011, Hits: 13,298, Rating: 5.00, Reviews: 1, Votes: 1 Bookmark and Share
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Sedona, Arizona Travel Guide Restaurants (46)
Hotels and Lodging (51)
Bars and Nightlife (7)
Attractions (17)
Maps (5)
Links (2)
Additional Articles (2)
Arizona Travel Forum (1)
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Location: North America
Geography: Mountains, Desert
Vacation Type: Family, Relaxation, Adventure
Popularity: Moderate Tourism, Touristy
Costs: Moderate, Expensive
Attractions: Scenery, Camping, Cultural Attractions, Fishing, Hiking, Shopping, Spa & Wellness

Facts and Stats:
Population - 11,220
Government - Constitution-based federal republic
Time Zone: Arizona Time (No daylight savings) - GMT -7
Telephone Area Code: 928
Country dialing code: +1
Languages: English
Electricity: 120v

Introduction:
Surrounded by spectacular red rock formations and mesas, this small city is a giant playground for outdoor enthusiasts. This wealthy city is also known for its artistic and spiritual communities as well.

Brief History:
Human prehistory began in Sedona around 8000 years BC when hunter-gatherers settled in the Verde Valley and Prescott areas. Most believe that these first inhabitants migrated across land connecting Ancient Asia with North America. These nomads are now referred to as "Paleo Indians". Evidence suggests that the "Anasazi Indians" came next followed by the Hohokam during the period of 500 AD to 700 AD. Between 900 and 1350 AD, a more advanced civilization began building pueblos and cliff houses. Known as the Sinagua, they were proficient in farming, had an understanding of astronomy, and made baskets, pottery and jewelry. For reasons still unknown, the pueblo builders had moved on by 1400 AD.

The Spanish arrived in the Verde Valley in 1583 and the area was in the hands of Spain until Mexico gained its independence in 1821. With the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848, the Arizona Territory became part of the United States.

The first Anglo residents were homesteaders that began arriving in 1876 beginning with John "Jim" Thompson. By the turn of the century, about 15 homesteading families called the area home. In 1899, Theodore Carlton Schnebly and his wife, Sedona Miller Schnebly, joined Theodore's brother, Ellsworth (D.E.), in the Oak Creek Area. As the community was growing, they realized the need for a post office, and hence, needed a name for the town. Ellsworth suggested submitting Sedona's name for the honor. On June 26, 1902, the Postmaster approved the name "Sedona". Over time the community grew, in part because of the successful mining that was occuring in nearby Jerome.

In the 1950's, Sedona became a premier destination for Hollywood and over 70 movies have been filmed in Sedona since, many of which were westerns.

Until 1988, government in Sedona was divided between Coconino and Yavapai Counties. Local people wished to have more control over local affairs, and an incorporation drive was started. In December 1987, an election was held and the majority of the people approved incorporation. This was implemented in January 1988, with June Cornelison as the first appointed mayor.

Today, tourism is Sedona's primary industry attracting over 4 million visitors a year second only to the Grand Canyon as Arizona's most visited destination. In June 2006, Sedona made headlines as the city was threatened with a forest fire just 1 mile outside of the city. The fire, reportedly started by transients, burned for 10 days before finally being contained.

Geography:
Sedona is located approximately 2 hours north of Phoenix and 30 minutes south of Flagstaff at an elevation of 4,500 feet above sea level. Sedona's prime attraction is its famed red sandstone hills and cliffs. The red rocks inspire artists and outdoor enthusiasts, while the supposed existence of vortices attracts many new age spiritualists.

Geologists say an early form of the breathtaking scenery was created 300 million years ago, as warm, shallow salt water receded, leaving exposed layers of sandstone and limestone. Over the centuries, water and wind eroded the rocks, leaving the colorful spires, arches, and rugged patterns seen today. Some of the better known rock formations are Bell Rock, Cathedral Rock, Snoopy Rock, Coffeepot Rock, Capitol Butte, Ship Rock, Sphinx Rock, Castle Rock, Courthouse Rock, and Chimney Rock.

The city of Sedona is essentially made up of 3 pieces. West Sedona in Yavapai County, Uptown Sedona in Coconino County, and the Village of Oak Creek which is mostly located in Coconino County. West Sedona and Uptown Sedona are located on Highway 89A, while the Village of Oak Creek is located to the south on Highway 179. These 2 highways meet in a sort of Y formation that is appropriately called "The Y". As you continue east on 89A through Uptown Sedona, you will eventually find yourself in the famous Oak Creek Canyon which is the location of Slide Rock State Park and many hiking trails.

People/Culture:
Since the 1980s, when Sedona became the vortex capital of the planet, New Agers have settled there in droves, impressing their unique signature upon the city in numerous ways. A quick look at the phone book will turn up psychics, clairvoyants, psychic surgeons, numerologists, acupressurists, crystal healers, herbologists, and other practitioners of holistic medicine.

Sedona also fosters a cottage industry of painters and other artists whose work is available everywhere throughout the city. Most of the art work in Sedona tends to be very expensive and this is especially true at Tlaquepaque. In the city's outskirts, usually down private dirt drives, live wealthy Americans drawn to the isolation and beauty of the red rocks. And in the city, because tourism is really the only other large business, there is a small, diverse blue-collar constituency. Although Sedona has a rich Native American heritage, this is little in evidence now, except where it has been plagarized for tourist consumption.

Beyond the above groups of people, you will mostly see a lot of tourists, whose numbers rival those of the locals at times. Largely due to the large number of tourists, and despite its wealthy local population, Sedona is a fairly casual destination.

Food & Nightlife:
Sedona has a good number of restaurants for its size. Many of them are upscale and can tend to be pretty expensive. Most restaurants close around 9:30pm and reservations are highly recommended for most places. If in a hurry or on a budget, there are a couple of fast food options available as well. There are also plenty of grocery stores to buy food if your lodging offers a kitchen.

The nightlife in Sedona is pretty subdued and this community can easily be described as sleepy. Most of the bars close around 11pm and there isn't much in the way of dance clubs or other late-night entertainment.

Money/Costs:
Lodging in Sedona is very expensive and this city is home to the most expensive Super 8 Motel you'll likely ever see. There are budget motels available, but you tend to get what you pay for. If you want moderate to nice accomodations, you will need to be prepared to pay a fairly hefty price for them.

Sales taxes can add up in Sedona. The state of Arizona assesses a 5.6% sales tax, the county levies .925%, and the city of Sedona tacks on another 3% and yet another 3% for lodging.

The state parks in the area are not free. You have to pay a fee for your car, or an individual fee if you are walking or bike riding into the park.

Getting There and Around:
Sedona's airport cannot accomodate commercial jets and is mostly used for business jets and helicopters. This being the case, the best way to get to Sedona is to fly into Phoenix. Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix is one of the busiest airports in the country and is serviced by a large number of major airlines. Once you arrive here, you will need to either rent a car and drive approximately 2 hours north to Sedona, catch a flight on Scenic Airlines which does fly to Sedona, or use Sedona Phoenix Shuttle Service (928-282-2066) which provides transportation to and from the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. You may also be able to arrange a flight to Flagstaff (Serviced by US Airways) and then drive about 30 minutes south to Sedona.

Once in Sedona, you are best off having a car if you wish to explore the sites in the area. There are several taxi companies in town if needed. There is also the Sedona Trolley (928-282-5400) which offers two 55-minute tours of the city. Tours depart at the Uptown depot in the middle of Sedona. Jeep tours are another popular way to get to some of the more remote places in the area.

Weather:
The current weather conditions in Sedona, Arizona:


Because of its elevation, wide temperature swings (over 30 degrees) are fairly normal. This can be quite nice on hot summer days when the temperature will drop to comfortable levels at night, unlike places like Phoenix and Tucson. Below are the average temperatures and rainfall.

Month Avg High Avg Low Average Rainfall
January 56 30 2.1"
February 61 33 2.16"
March 65 37 2.47"
April 73 42 1.16"
May 82 49 0.71"
June 93 58 0.36"
July 97 64 1.65"
August 94 63 1.9"
September 88 58 1.94"
October 77 48 1.67"
November 64 36 1.38"
December 57 31 1.51"

Tips/Additional Information:
  • Be careful when walking through the wilderness. Though it looks different, this is still the desert. There are rattlesnakes and scorpions around.
  • The town of Jerome is just 29 miles west of Sedona and is well worth a visit.
  • It is a good idea to get a detailed street map of the city as finding things can be a little difficult here.
  • There is no smoking allowed in Slide Rock State Park.







  • User Reviews (1)




    Reviewed by: sloshed
    Review date: Apr-24-2009

    Sedona is just plain beautiful and a very cool community. It is a little on the spendy side, but worth every penny. I think we spent about 4 days there and that was a good length. Definitely check out Oak Creek Canyon and Slide Rock State Park. 

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